How Do You Handle It? An Investigation of Facebook Affordances and Envy

Wallace, Linda
Warkentin, Merrill
Benbasat, Izak
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Facebook and other social network sites (SNSs) provide over one billion users with affordances not realized in traditional interpersonal interactions. With a single online post (a comment, a picture, a "like," a tag, a status update, etc.), SNS users across the planet can instantly share personal information with their entire network of friends. Some of these posts stimulate feelings of envy on the part of the reader, though the envious feelings (and the reactions to envy) may be different than those felt by individuals who learn of enviable news through traditional ("real world") interactions. Under certain conditions, envious feelings experienced while visiting a SNS have been shown to be linked to depression and a lower sense of wellbeing. Our research reviews relevant literature on envy and social media affordances and builds a theory which relates the impact of SNS affordances to envious feelings. We present propositions to guide future research efforts that may seek to investigate the direct causes, moderators, and dispositional and situational factors that lead to feelings of SNS envy and its outcomes.
The Dark Side of Information Technology, Affordance Theory, Envy, Facebook, Social Media, Theory Development
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